Storm signals lifted as Agaton heads out of country

Pagasa satellite image showing weather conditions early Wednesday morning.

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE – 7:02 a.m.) Tropical depression “Agaton” slowed down slightly as it began to exit the Philippine area of responsibility early Wednesday morning, January 3, and storm warning signals were lifted.

Agaton was last tracked 175 kilometers west-northwest of Puerto Princesa, Palwan with maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 65 kph a it moved west at 25 kph.

Nevertheless, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration warned of moderate to heavy rains over the Visayas, the Bicol region, Palawan — where Agaton last made landfall — and Quezon that could trigger floods and landslides.

It also said sea travel remains risky over the Northern and Southern Luzon seaboards, the eastern seaboard of Central Luzon, the eastern and western seaboards of the Visayas, and the eastern seaboard of Mindanao due to Agaton and the surge of the northeast monsoon.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said Agaton had affected 2,812 families, or 11,823 persons, in 75 barangays in Regions 6, 7, 10 and Caraga. Of these, 865 families, or 3,547 persons, needed to be sheltered in 20 evacuation centers.

It also reported 2,704 passengers, 80 rolling cargo, and 35 vessels stranded in Cebu, Tagbilaran, Sorsoon, Surigao, Cagayan de Oro, Ozamiz, Iligan, Dapitan, Butuan, Leyte and Southern Leyte.

The NDRRMC said 80 areas in Capiz province reported flooding and 36 flights needed to be canceled on January 1 and 2.

But Governor Tony del Rosario said 117 of the 473 barangays in the province were affected.

The affected villages are in the towns of Maayon, Sigma, Cuartero, Mambusao, Dumalag, Dao,Panit-an, Pontevedra, Dumarao, Panay and Tapaz.

Del Rosario suspended classes at all levels in the province on Wednesday.

In Catanduanes, Governor Joseph Cua also suspended Wednesday classes on all levels.